It is not unusual for one seeking election to civic government to fantasize and even vocalize loudly about setting things straight. Worthy ambitions? Usually not. More like delusional musings. We have seen the results of such overwrought minds played out since the last municipal elections in a couple of BC communities.
The most worthy ambition, and the ambition that ultimately is easiest to realize, is to simply be part of a Council that is committed to doing the best for the community in every circumstance. And, believe me, these circumstances are not always readily predictable from the other side of the ballot box.
I want the community to know that the present Council is here to work for Chetwynd and not to entertain the voters with sword play, sleight-of-hand, and games of mud ball. Don’t look for any of that this term.
An effective Mayor and Council doesn’t create itself over night or even in a month or two; nor is effectiveness automatic. It takes planning, following a plan, and willingness to listen to those who have been through the mill to shape seven individuals who may be meeting for the first time into an effective working group that understands its role, its boundaries, its reason for existence.
Mayor and Council do have boundaries and they are highest between them in their official capacity and the employees of the District. The Council that is determined to make waves will do just that if these boundaries are breached – and nothing much will happen to advance the fortunes of the community.
In following our plan to have an effective Mayor and Council, the District of Chetwynd regularly sends members of Council, and the Mayor, to the Local Government Leadership Academy, usually held in Richmond. Four of our Council members have just returned (Mayor didn’t go this year) from three days of study sessions dealing with topics such as problem solving, roles and responsibilities, and leadership effectiveness. As Councillor Pfanner said, the conference was “very informative and the opportunity to talk with other Mayors and Councillors was valuable.” Councillors Weisgerber and Galbraith also reported on their experiences.
Galbraith: “This particular forum was focused on Leading Through Relationships. From impasse to success, how building relationships and forming coalitions were key to success of many communities in BC. … Not only did I learn from these sessions, I also gained some insights by networking with other elected officials, finding similarities in our communities, to see what is working and what isn’t working; what relationships have been built and what relationships need to be built.”
Weisgerber: “For someone who is just starting [her] second year, I still have lots to learn, and when we have opportunity to go to these conferences and talk to people who have been in our positions … it is a great opportunity for us to learn.”
We have a growing team working together in the Chetwynd Council with the key words being working and together.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor